Meta-Airtel Partnership to Extend 2Africa Pearls Subsea Cable

Bharti Airtel and Meta have decided to jointly invest in global connectivity infrastructure project that would extend the 2Africa Pearls (a subsea cable) to India.

What is 2Africa Pearls?

  • The 2Africa Pearls is one of the largest subsea cable systems in the world. Its purpose is to provide faster internet connectivity to over 3 billion people by connecting Africa, Europe, and Asia.
  • When this 37,000-km-long subsea cable was launched in 2020, it connected 23 countries.
  • In 2021, the tech giant Meta announced a new segment of 2Africa Pearls in collaboration with regional partners.
  • The extension project seeks to cover landing locations in Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan, India, and Saudi Arabia.
  • The extension will increase the total length of the 2Africa cable system to more than 45,000 km, making it the world’s longest subsea cable system.
  • In its entirety, this subsea cable will significantly increase connectivity within and outside Africa.
  • Currently, Africa is the least connected continent in the world, with only one-fourth of its total 1.3 billion people being connected to the internet. The 2Africa subsea cable system will provide nearly thrice the total network capacity of all the subsea cables in the continent.

About Meta-Airtel collaboration project

Bharti Airtel will collaborate with Meta and Saudi Telecommunication Company to extend 2Africa Pearls to India. The project involves the extension of the subsea cable to Airtel’s landing station in Mumbai and pick up the dedicated capacity to further boost its submarine network portfolio. Bharti Airtel currently owns three cable landing stations – two in Chennai and one in Mumbai.

The extension of 2Africa will enhance the connectivity of fixed-line broadband internet in India. It will significantly improve the country’s cable capacity and empower global hyper-scalers and businesses to build new integrated solutions.  This comes amid the growing competition among Indian telecom companies.

In February 2022, the Bharti Airtel boarded the SEA-ME-WE-6 undersea cable consortium to expand its high-speed network capacity. During the same month, its competitor Reliance Jio collaborated with Ocean Connect Maldives and entered into an alliance with India-Asia-Xpress (IAX) undersea cable system.



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